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Giancarlo Esposito says his Far Cry 6 dictator is 'not a villain'

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Giancarlo Esposito, who will portray Yaran dictator Anton Castillo in the upcoming Far Cry 6 (opens in new tab), appeared on today's Summer Game Fest to talk about the game, its political underpinnings, and maybe most interestingly, how his character is not actually the bad guy.

"It really appealed to me, because he's a guy who first came from a love of his family and a love of his community and country, and it was so in line with what's going on in the world politically today, and what has happened in the past," Esposito said, explaining what attracted him to the role. 

"I'm not a villain ... This guy loves his country. He wants to empower you, Keighley. He wants to empower you to stand up and speak your truth."

Like the rest of the Far Cry 6 development team, Esposito said his inspiration for Castillo is drawn largely from Cuban ruler Fidel Castro. "[Cuba] had so many resources, but really the dream, the ability of the dictator to cultivate those resources, something got in the way there," perhaps obliquely referencing the longstanding US embargo of the island following Castro's takeover. "Hopefully that can change in the years go come."

Balancing that, however, he also referenced Nicolae Ceaușescu and Adolf Hitler, and "the mindset that has you wanting to have power over others. For each dictator, it's different."

Regardless of whether Castillo isn't actually the obvious villain he's been portrayed as so far, or if Esposito is simply having a bit of fun, it's clear that he wants to emphasize the complexity of the character—"a renegade within reason," as he put it.

"I do agree that there's good and bad about all people," he said. "But this guy, out of his love and passion for his people—even if they're faceless to him at certain points in time—allow him to be an absolute hero."

Esposito undoubtedly has the chops to pull it off—the big question is whether Ubisoft's writers will give him enough to work with to enable him to make it happen. Either way, it remains very interesting to me that Ubisoft remains willing to acknowledge the overtly political aspects (opens in new tab) of the game, something it's famously shied away from in just about every other game it's made.

Far Cry 6 is set to come out on October 7.

What's up next? Here's the full E3 2021 schedule
Check out our list of every game at E3 so far

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.